UFC 229: The Aftermath

I wish I could be waxing lyrical about the fight, writing about an incredible performance by Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov, and talking about how no one has ever dominated Conor “The Notorious” McGregor in such a way. (And no one ever will again, unless there’s a rematch … which is very likely in a sport where money talks as much as Conor does. Unlikely to be in Las Vegas, but I’m sure New York will jump at the opportunity of hosting.)

The funny part of it all is that I didn’t even get to see the fight – or the aftermath – until nine hours later. My partner and I went on a day trip to the neighbouring city of Tianjin, in China. I managed to avoid the result by doing the impossible: avoiding all social media, and then getting my aforementioned partner to find the highlights on YouTube. She kindly obliged, and I got to witness everything without any knowledge of what was about to happen.

The Fight

Khabib absolutely dominated the fight from the start. Very early on, he was able to exert his will over Conor. In rounds 1 and 2, Conor was unable to resist the take down attempts and found himself trapped under the Russian. Round 2 was especially brutal for the Irishman, as he took some hefty blows to the body and face. The most telling blow, though, came from the right fist of Khabib as he went toe-to-toe with Conor. It showed he was capable of beating McGregor in every way possible.

Round 3: Conor actually managed to defend against Khabib’s take-down attempts on a couple of occasions. The Irishman also landed a few hefty blows of his own in what was the most even round of the fight, so far. That “glass chin” that Khabib supposedly had was standing firmer than a bulletproof windshield, though. This windshield fired back, and fired back with menace.

Round 4: After a minute of circling and baby jabs, Conor was on his back, thanks to a bear hug and leg sweep from Khabib. Within seconds, the Irishman was on his side. Then he gave up his back to Khabib. People with any knowledge of UFC know that once you are in that position, you are seconds away from defeat. Khabib had Conor’s neck locked in tightly and started to choke him.

As predicted, Conor had to do what he loves to do best …

 

So, what actually happened?

The fight ended. Khabib won by submission. 27th win. And then the cries of, “NO KHABIB! What are you doing??? NO!!”

It was too late. Khabib had brushed aside one of the security personnel, jumped out of the cage and into Conor’s team. His target: Dillon Danis. That was the cue for the rest of Khabib’s team to attack Conor.

See for yourselves …

In the famous words of Ron Burgundy:

I agree, Ron. That did escalate quickly.

As a good friend of mine, Ramaize, who traveled over from England, explained, “It genuinely didn’t feel safe, mini riots were breaking out everywhere and a lot of it stemmed from the fact that the Irish fans were super upset at Conor losing.”

Ramaize then went on to say: “They (McGregor fans) threw things at Khabib as he walked back through the tunnel. I literally exited the building as soon as they announced the winner because of the backlash.”

Who is to blame?

Easy answer: Khabib.

Honest answer: The UFC.

There comes a point when the governing body, Dana White (the general manager of the UFC) in particular, should have stepped in and had a word with Conor. In his post-match press conference, Dana White described the event as “not sport.”

I completely agree!

But I am not just referring to the brawl.

I dare anyone to go into their workplace and say the kinds of things that Conor has said to Khabib. Bringing up another man’s family, nation and religion are not necessary in any situation. These topics should never be used to attack another human being. Yet, Dana White can be seen laughing at the comments on many occasions, when instead he should have been putting a stop to it.

What happens now?

Unfortunately, the sports commissioner for the State of Nevada was among the people to leave the venue when everything kicked off. As a result, Khabib will undoubtedly face the risk of a lengthy ban, which could result in him having to give up the belts that he currently holds. Furthermore, Khabib faces the potential of losing his visa and having to leave his base in California. He is at risk of losing his purse for the fight – he may receive no money at all. After all, his post-match actions did almost lead to a full-arena brawl.

You know it’s bad when Mike Tyson comes out declaring, “(It was) crazier than my fight riot!”

As for Conor McGregor: He was interviewed after the fight, and then cleared by the authorities of any wrongdoing. He was then given his money for the fight and went on his merry way. Albeit, he was greatly humbled, and (hopefully) Conor left with a better understanding of where to draw the line with his insults.

As for the three men who attacked Conor McGregor: They were arrested and then later released after Conor opted not to press charges. Very noble of him. I’m not sure I would have done the same, but then again, I wouldn’t have done any of the things that Conor did in the first place.

Whatever way you look at it, the lasting memories from the fight will be the demolition of Conor McGregor, a dominant win by Khabib Nurmagomedov, and the collective outcry of, “No Khabib, what are you doing? No!”


For those of you interested in a closer look at what happened, here’s a first-hand account from my aforementioned friend, Ramaize:

Ramaize’s full account of the night, in his own words:

  • It was a great fight, Khabib obviously answered all the critics…his chin, his striking and his ability to deal with the spotlight. Was impressed with Conor’s ability to defend a couple takedowns, but overall Khabib enforced his gamelan and made Conor quit. 
  • It genuinely didn’t feel safe, mini riots were breaking out everywhere and a lot of it stemmed from the fact that the Irish fans were super upset at Conor losing. They threw things at Khabib as he walked back through the tunnel. I literally exited the building as soon as they announced the winner because of the backlash. 
  • As a massive Khabib fan, it was great to see him living up to what he said he was going to do, but he shouldn’t have jumped over the cage (even though Dillon Danis was shouting things at him). They should’ve embraced each other and buried the rivalry.
  • Also Conor with the bus, the Bellator incident where he assaulted a refereee…all is forgiven because it’s Conor and now they’re saying Khabib could face all types of consequences due to his behaviour.